Vatican Off Obama’s Itinerary

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 12:04 PM Comments (0)

When will Obama come here? (CNS/Reuters)

The White House disclosed over the weekend that President Barack Obama is to make a weeklong foreign tour in July that will include Russia, Italy and Ghana. However, noticeably missing from the list is the Vatican.

It’s been widely thought that Obama would visit Pope Benedict XVI when the president attends the G8 summit in the Italian town of L’Aquila July 8-10. But there was no mention of the Holy Father or the Holy See in the statement, despite the fact that, according to sources in Rome, the president will be staying at the residence of the U.S. ambassador to Italy in Rome.

The White House says the reason is because the precise details of his tour have yet to be worked out. “We...READ MORE

Filed under barack obama, vatican

Where Tony Blair Puts His Faith

Thursday, May 14, 2009 3:57 PM Comments (0)


It received little press attention, but as the Daily Blog reported earlier this week, Msgr. Michel Schooyans, a human-rights expert, recently made some strong criticisms of Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation.

Speaking May 1 at the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, Msgr. Schooyans said Blair’s foundation — which the former British prime minister set up last year to promote respect and understanding about the world’s major religions — actually aims to remake these religions and use them to expand “new rights.”

The result would be to reduce those religions “to the same common denominator, which means stripping them of their identity,” Msgr. Schooyans said.

The 79-year-old...READ MORE

Filed under tony blair

Pope Visits Upper Room

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 11:40 AM Comments (0)


Pope Benedict XVI yesterday visited some of the holiest places in Judaism and Islam, including a stop at a humble yet holy setting: the Cenacle, the Shrine of the Last Supper, where essentially the Church was born.

There, the Pope greeted the bishops of the Holy Land with “great joy,” noting the importance of this place where the Eucharist was instituted. Through the mystery of the Eucharist, he said, “our lives become a grateful, docile and active acceptance of the power of a love which is given to us.”

This transforming love, the Holy Father added, “prompts us, as individuals and communities, to overcome the temptation to turn in upon ourselves in selfishness or indolence,...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, holy land visit

Today’s Agony in the Garden

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 3:43 PM Comments (0)

Benedict celebrates Mass today. (CNS/Reuters)

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, gave a tough assessment today of the plight facing Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Holy Land.

Speaking in the Josaphat Valley, a short distance from the Garden of Gethsemane, during the second public Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI on his Holy Land pilgrimage, Patriarch Twal compared the present situation to Jesus’ own agony in the garden.

“We have the agony of the Palestinian people,” he said, “who dream of living in a free and independent Palestinian state, but have not found its realization.” The patriarch also spoke of “the agony of the Israeli people, who dream of a normal life in peace and security...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, holy land visit, patriarch twal

Papal Focus: Jewish Dialogue

Thursday, May 07, 2009 11:56 AM Comments (0)

Israel has issued a special edition of stamps in honor of the upcoming papal visit to the Holy Land. (CNS/Reuters)

Deepening Catholic-Jewish relations will be high on the agenda of Pope Benedict XVI’s momentous week-long visit to the Holy Land, which begins tomorrow.

To help ensure his visit helps Catholic-Jewish relations as much as possible, traveling alongside — but very much in the background — will be Father Norbert Hofmann. A German Salesian, Father Hofmann is Secretary for the Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism, which works under the supervision of Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Speaking to me just before he set off with the travelling papal party, Father Hofmann explained Catholic-Jewish relations are still healthy...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, catholic-jewish dialogue, holy land visit

The Pope and the Prince

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 11:07 AM Comments (0)

Some information on the Prince of Wales’s private audience with Pope Benedict XVI that didn’t get reported:

The April 27 audience was brief — only 15 minutes — but the two surprisingly found plenty to talk about. Environmental issues figured high up on the list of topics. Prince Charles spoke about his Amazon Rainforest Project, and they even broached the possibility of collaborating on some environmental programs there.

They then went on to discuss the Holy Father’s upcoming visit to the Holy Land, and interreligious dialogue — a subject also of interest to the heir to the British throne. Prince Charles recalled a fairly recent visit he made to Egypt when he visited Al Azhar...READ MORE

Filed under prince charles, tony blair

Pope's Birthday Tomorrow

Wednesday, April 15, 2009 1:00 PM Comments (0)

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson greets Pope Benedict XVI today in St. Peter's Square. (CNS/Reuters)

At his weekly general audience today and on the eve of his 82nd birthday, Pope Benedict XVI was greeted with warm applause and singing from a crowd of 30,000 pilgrims gathered under sunny skies in St. Peter’s Square.

Among those attending was Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who is in Rome at the invitation of the Sant’Egidio lay community because of his recent decision to sign legislation to abolish the death penalty in his state.

The Sant’Egidio community has long campaigned for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty.

Meanwhile, on Vatican Radio today, papal spokesman Father Federico Lombardi reflected on Benedict’s birthday tomorrow.

“I hope,” the Jesuit priest...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi

Papal Vacation Plans

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 10:22 AM Comments (0)

Benedict at Les Combes, Italy, in 2006. (CNS/L'Osservatore Romano)

Pope Benedict XVI will be vacationing in Valle d’Aosta in the mountainous northwestern region of Italy later this year.

The Pope will be returning to the village of Les Combes, near the town of Aosta, from July 13-27. The Holy Father spent his first two summers as pope at Les Combes, which is located close to Europe’s largest peak, Mont Blanc.

The residence Benedict stayed at used to be a favorite of Pope John Paul II.

Bishop Giuseppe Anfossi of Aosta revealed the news April 6. He told reporters that he expressed “to His Holiness the joy and the gratitude of the Diocese of Aosta and the whole valley for this gesture of renewed friendship and closeness from you, and pastors and the...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, vacation

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About Edward Pentin

Edward Pentin
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Edward Pentin began reporting on the Pope and the Vatican with Vatican Radio before moving on to become the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He has also reported on the Holy See and the Catholic Church for a number of other publications including Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review, a Franciscan publication specializing in the Church and the Middle East. Follow on Twitter @edwardpentin